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A Test For Boehner

House Minority Leader John Boehner faces the most important vote of his House leadership career today as Congress votes on the $1,000,000,000,000 Democrat stimulus plan.

Boehner should look to the example set by courageous House Republicans in a rare act of solidarity when they voted unanimously to reject Clinton's budget in 1993. That historic vote (along with the dramatic showdown in the Senate when Vice President Al Gore cast the tie breaking vote) was the cornerstone of a stunning upset strategy a year later when Republicans regained control of the House.

The Republicans are certainly no where close to regaining control of either the House or Senate in 2010, but the process of becoming a majority must necessarily begin with some dramatic statement. That opportunity presents itself today when Republicans can repudiate Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid by allowing the Democrats to shoulder full political responsibility and risk for this monstrosity of federal spending.

Democrats know that passing the massive stimulus bill carries great risk. Former Clinton Budget Director Alice Rivlin noted yesterday:

In testimony before the House Budget Committee yesterday, Alice M. Rivlin, who was President Bill Clinton's budget director, suggested splitting the plan, implementing its immediate stimulus components now and taking more time to plan the longer-term transformative spending to make sure it is done right.
"Such a long-term investment program should not be put together hastily and lumped in with the anti-recession package. The elements of the investment program must be carefully planned and will not create many jobs right away," said Rivlin, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. The risk, she said, is that "money will be wasted because the investment elements were not carefully crafted."

The Boehner strategy should be ideologically grounded in the fact that lower taxes and reduced federal spending are far more effective tools in stabilizing a faltering economy. President Obama, in his meeting with Republicans yesterday, signaled that he might consider a reduction in corporate tax rates if loop holes and special interests were eliminated:

"Republicans praised Obama's conciliatory tone and his willingness to listen to their ideas, while Obama offered an olive branch on taxes by telling the House conference that he could agree to lower the corporate tax rate if they agreed to close corporate tax loopholes."

Republicans should exploit this opening by drafting an alternative bill that includes closing loopholes for corporate and special interests (almost all of which constituencies are being well fed at the TARP trough) and proposing a reduction in corporate taxes. Lowering corporate taxes will have a more immediate impact on job creation than anything included in the stimulus plan proposed by the Democrats.

For the Republicans to regain power in Congress they must first establish credibility with their base (which they squandered over the last ten years by trying to govern like Democrats.) Today is their first chance to begin that process. Clearly they cannot overcome Democrat majorities, but repairing the relationship with core conservatives is more important.


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Comments (19)

Republicans should... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
Republicans should exploit this opening by drafting an alternative bill that includes closing loopholes for corporate and special interests (almost all of which constituencies are being well fed at the TARP trough) and proposing a reduction in corporate taxes

Well they better hurry, before Chairwomen Pelosi make make futher changes to the House Rules that Bar the minority from drafting bills.

I want the democrats to pas... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I want the democrats to pass this pork bill so republicans can run for office showing again and again how the democrats used the crisis to line their districts pockets instead of just focusing on the economy.

I can't believe Obama would squander the good faith he has from a majority on this pork laden bill. ww

Good Faith?With th... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Good Faith?

With the help of the Congressional Dems, Obama doesn't need good faith, just a truckload of money sent to ACORN and the unions.

The taxpayer be damned!

There's no downside (that t... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

There's no downside (that the media can't paper over) for the Democrats completely "owning" the Stimulus Bill.

Republicans can also hammer... (Below threshold)

Republicans can also hammer Democrats over their phony-baloney "pay as you go" rules that they adopted, with much fanfare, only two years ago.

What you say is all true. I... (Below threshold)
Wright:

What you say is all true. It is also true - as well as extremely unfortunate - that the Republicans surrendered their credibility on these issues when they were in the majority. The infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere' was a Republican deal, as are many others that are undeservedly less well known.
Oh well, you have to start somewhere. I'd like to see it start now.

Wright, we are talking abou... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Wright, we are talking about a trillion dollars. Not a couple of billion. Come on. How is that equitable? ww

Hugh: you assume facts not ... (Below threshold)

Hugh: you assume facts not in evidence, specifically the thought that Members (to be fair, of either party) act based on principle.

Their overriding goal is to be reelected and everything is geared around that. They vote based on the hard calculus of whether that vote will help or hurt them with, in order, (1) the voters (and not just the noisy hard core), (2) campaign contributors, especially big dollar donors, and (3) the likelihood of having to face a primary challenge. Note I don't mention whether a particular bill is 'good' or whether it advances conservative principles.

My guess is that with the exception of GOP members in real safe districts or states (either having won with 60% the last time around or, in the case of the Senate, not having to face re-election until 2012), the stimulus bill is going to get across the board support. Not because it is a good bill but rather because it's going to pass with or without their vote and thus voting against it doesn't result in a better bill, it only gives their (future) Democratic challenger too easy of a shot at them ('when the country needed strong leadership, XX let partisan politics stand in the way of action); responding with Yes, the country needed a shot in the arm, but I voted against the stimulus bill because it wasn't perfect" is a very weak retort... somewhat analogous to the scorn Gingrich received over his alleged hissy fit over not getting to sit up with Clinton on Air Force One. Yes, voting against the stimulus bill will please some right side voters but as we've seen, there just ain't enough of them to guarantee re-election... you need middle voters to win and those voters aren't impressed with conservative doctrine.

I totally disagree with you... (Below threshold)

I totally disagree with your analysis that the Republicans are no where near close to capturing either House of congress. The reality is that in 1993, the numbers that the Democrats controlled both houses are almost identical to what they are now. If the economy continues to be as bad as it is now, the Republicans have a great chance to retake one or both Houses of congress. In 1994, the Republicans gained 50 seats in the House and several Democrats switched to the Republican party. The key is that the Republicans get behind Boehner in the House and that he gets those waivering in line. Good leadership is what the Republicans need. I think that this is a chance to see what kind of leader John Bohener is!

I agree Mark. I think the s... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I agree Mark. I think the senate is where we will likely pick up the majority since they now have two very weak senators one from a corrupt state. ww

This about sums it up:... (Below threshold)
Marc:

This about sums it up:

Writing for the Financial Times, Jeffrey Sachs warns that the stimulus is a financial straight-jacket. "The most obvious problem with the stimulus package is that it has been turned into a fiscal piñata - with a mad scramble for candy on the floor. We seem all too eager to rectify a generation of a nation saving too little by saving even less - this time through expanding government borrowing. First it was former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan's bubble, then Wall Street's, and now - in the third act - it will be Washington's.

ww - The point I made is no... (Below threshold)
Wright:

ww - The point I made is not that the amount being wasted is the same (or even close) but the fact that the GOP is trying to represent itself as some sort of fiscal watchdog. But they didn't slap down Sen Trent Lott when he steered half a billion porkbarrel dollars to the Pascagoula shipyard for a ship, LHD-8, that the Navy didn't want; they were silent when Rep Young of Alaska wanted to spend 10 million bucks for an I-75 interchange in Florida to pay off a campaign donor, or any number of other similar shady deals. For them to suddenly become the trusted guardians of the public purse smacks more of opportunism than conviction.
Don't get me wrong - I want this thing to go down in flames. I just wish that the Republicans hadn't squandered their credibility on fiscal issues the way they did.

Don't get me wrong... (Below threshold)
Marc:
Don't get me wrong - I want this thing to go down in flames. I just wish that the Republicans hadn't squandered their credibility on fiscal issues the way they did.
Fair point, but ya gotta start somewhere regardless of party.

And this ain't it, even thought some dimbulbs are, shall we say, rushing to judgment:

"Democrats said the current economic crisis did not allow time for public hearings on the legislation. "This is as urgent as it gets," said Representative Anna G. Eshoo, Democrat of California."

Urgent my aching ass, these asshats have been squealing recession for over a year, yet now when there's pork to be had its "urgent".

Screw'em all regardless of party.

You probably have heard of ... (Below threshold)
Neo:

You probably have heard of "security theater".

This "stimulus bill" is an exercise in "economic security theater"

The politics of fear continues.

steve sturmHugh... (Below threshold)

steve sturm

Hugh: you assume facts not in evidence, specifically the thought that Members (to be fair, of either party) act based on principle.

I haven't "assumed" anything in my post. I stated facts, which have somehow eluded you.

The House voted on principle in 1993 and I provided the link.

The House will vote shortly on the stimulus legislation. There will nothing "across the board" about the vote. It will be pretty much along party lines.

510 million does not add up... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

510 million does not add up to what the democrats want to waste. I agree, the republican lead congress wasted much money and strayed from conservative fiscal policy which they paid the price for. Now the dem's are doing triple duty on the wasteful spending. I want the dems, especially in the senate to go for this package so we can hang it around their necks.

Why do we need to spend 400 million dollars for overseas family planning? Our government has left the common people. ww

16 comments and not a farki... (Below threshold)
The Skeptical Cynic:

16 comments and not a farking one nary a scintilla of ratiocination! It is rare that one can encounter so much stupidity trying to fit into such a small space. It sort of like seeing 10 pounds of s**t in a five pound bag! I read these comments and with horror I think,
Jesus H. Tap Dancing Christ on a Farking Rubber Crutch .... and these are America's voters!

Reading this tripe is about as, like, .... aw screw it .... it's an intelligence thing, you wouldn't understand.
depp=true
notiz=Here's help for your reading handicap.

"Boehner should look to the... (Below threshold)

"Boehner should look to the example set by courageous House Republicans in a rare act of solidarity when they voted unanimously to reject Clinton's budget in 1993."

Fantastic Post. You are absolutely correct, sir. Readers: if you have a Republican congressman or senator, please let them know that this is what you expect. There are several reasons for Republicans to take a firm stand:

1. Principle: This "stimulus" package is a scam. It will do little to help the economy. It will do much to help special interest groups. It is immoral to spend such colossal quatities of cash for such dubious purposes, only to put the responsibilty for paying for it on the shoulders of future generations.

2. If this spending bill turns out to be the failure that it is likely to be, Republicans will share the blame if they vote for it.

3. If the economy somehow recovers (with or without the spending authorized by this bill), Democrats will take all the credit, even if a large number of Republicans vote for it.

Republicans: Don't vote for this bill or for anything that remotely resembles it! Show you have some principles. Force the Democrats to stand on the courage of THIER convictions.
http://www.rightklik.net/

I read these comme... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
I read these comments and with horror I think, Jesus H. Tap Dancing Christ on a Farking Rubber Crutch .... and these are America's voters!

So, you left the "intelligence thing" out of this comment intentionally? So much for caring what you think.




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